Pope Francis clears John Paul II, John XXIII for canonization
posted at 9:55 am on July 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Following up on my earlier Green Room post, Pope Francis has cleared the way for canonization for both John Paul II and John XXIII. The next step will be a “consistory” to determine the process for their formal recognition of sainthood. The canonization of the latter is a major signal to the faithful:
Pope Francis on Friday cleared Pope John Paul II for sainthood, approving a miracle attributed to his intercession and setting up a remarkable dual canonization along with another beloved pope, John XXIII.
In a major demonstration of his papal authority, Francis decided to make John XXIII a saint even though the Vatican hasn’t confirmed a second miracle attributed to his intercession. The Vatican said Francis had the power to “dispense” with the normal saint-making procedures to canonize him on his own merit, without a miracle.
The ceremonies are expected before the end of the year. The date of Dec. 8 has been floated as one possibility, given it’s the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a major feast day for the church. Polish media continued to report that October was likely, to mark the anniversary of John Paul’s election, but Vatican officials have said that’s too soon to organize such a massive event.
The Vatican issued a statement regarding a number of approvals for canonization, but the most interesting is that of John XXIII. The exercise of papal authority in this case seems to be a very strong signal from Francis endorsing the outcome of the Second Vatican Council, which remains controversial with conservative elements within the Church. It’s a big rebuke to the Pius X Society (SSPX), a splinter group with whom the Vatican has tried to reconcile for decades since they split off in the 1970s. Pope John Paul II excommunicated a number of them in the 1980s for their attempt to consecrate new bishops.
SSPX wants the Vatican to back off from Vatican II changes and return to the earlier practices of the Church. This looks like Francis’ answer to their demands, and it may be especially galling to the group to see both the author of Vatican II and its enforcer canonized at the same time.